Sunday, May 08, 2011

Historical Deadline is Tomorrow

In case you’ve forgotten, tomorrow (May 10) is the last day to submit your Historical Fiction entry in our Out of the Slush Pile, Novel Journey’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame Contest.

For these purposes, Historical Fiction covers any story that takes place during the WWII era and before. It can be mystery, suspense, romance, thriller, or anything else, just so it’s set in the appropriate time period.

I recently read something – wish I could remember what, and where – that stated that there is no such category for novels as simply Historical. That is, there are Historical Romances and Historical Suspense and Historical Mysteries, but these are all subgenres of a primary genre of Romance or Suspense or Mystery.
Makes me wonder – where would you put classics like Ivanhoe? A Tale of Two Cities? All Quiet on the Western Front? How about Ken Follett’s fabulous Pillars of the Earth?

Seems to me there are a lot of great novels out there that don’t fit into any category but Historical. But what do I know? I’ve been a bit genre-impaired in the past. That is, for a couple of years I tried to market a book as Historical when it should have been billed as Women’s Fiction, since it started out in the WWII era but ended up in more recent years.
Does it matter? As I found out, yes – absolutely, it matters.

If a publisher sells to readers of historical fiction, they’re not going to buy a story that doesn’t meet those expectations, no matter how good the story may be. We need to market to the market, even though it might mean changing our minds about how something should be classified.

Of course in my case, the story wasn’t all that good anyway, even though Gina and Ane seem to like it. (Get over it, girls – it’s history. No, I mean it’s women’s fiction. But either way, I’m done with it.)

But how about yours? If you’ve got a good historical novel you’ve never sold, dust it off and let us see it. You never know, it might be a winner. Send the first chapter and synopsis, along with the entry form, to

FREE!! BONUS MATERIAL for this post only!
Speaking of history, I ran across a great quote the other day, and I’d like to share it with y'all. It’s especially apropos for writers, but worthwhile for anyone to consider.
These wise words are from Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman Stoic philosopher and statesman:

As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.

Yvonne Anderson lives in rural Ohio, where she writes speculative fiction. Her debut novel, The Story in the Stars, first in the space fantasy series, Gateway to Gannah, is scheduled for release this summer by Risen Fiction. Willing to learn from her mistakes, she does not plan to market it as historical.